Moen, the #1 faucet brand in North America, is also a leader in sustainable manufacturing practices. The Sanford, North Carolina facility has established a wastewater treatment program to clean hazardous materials from the water stream, as well as find ways to recycle some of the extracted materials.
The water treatment program began as a combined effort of the environmental compliance team led by John West, and the finishing engineering group. The finishing engineers, who are responsible for electroplating - the process for coating components with other metals - were instrumental in helping the team understand how to treat different types of chemical and metal residue in order to reduce waste.
Identifying Discarded Materials for Recycling and Repurposing
Part of the success of the water treatment at the Sanford facility was identifying ways to segregate the discarded material in the water so some of it could be recycled and repurposed by other industries.
“Segregation of waste streams is critical to effectively removing the waste from the water we discharge and minimizing the amount of sludge and hazardous waste we generate,” said Jim Romine, senior manufacturing engineer, Moen. “And, since we’re now able to segregate -- and therefore characterize -- the waste streams, refineries can reconstitute materials into usable metals.”
Implementing a Microfiltration System Improves System Efficiency
In order to clean and reuse more existing waste water, the company will be implementing a microfiltration system in which water is passed through a special membrane that captures the particles and prevents them from passing to the water stream. This will improve the efficiency of the system, and recover water that had been discharged as waste.
“This has been a multi-year effort and a continuously improving program,” said Romine. “We’re always looking for new ways to improve processes, reduce waste and recycle materials and we credit much of our success to cross-functional team collaboration.”